Truck Driver and Company Sued in Wal-Mart Employee Deathby Jana Ritter - Published: 5/13/2016
Last month, Wal-Mart employee Kenneth Steele was helping a truck driver back up in the store’s parking lot to unload and was fatally struck in the process. Now, the family is suing the truck driver and his employer, accusing them both of negligence. A similar incident occurred at a U.S. Steel plant nearly a year ago, however that truck driver was criminally charged with manslaughter.
January 05, 2018 - Trucker Faces 20 Years After Pleading Guilty To Smuggling Alien Found Dead In Locked Toolbox
January 02, 2018 - Police Identify 2 Oregon Truck Drivers Killed In Fiery Head-On Crash
December 27, 2017 - Iowa First Of Eight States To Debut New Truck Parking Information System
The tragic Wal-Mart incident occurred in Fort Wayne, Ind. on April 11, 2016. Kenneth Steele had been a longtime Wal-Mart employee who had picked up the part-time job after retiring years before. It was a Monday and Steele’s wife dropped him off at work at around 6:30 a.m. because he had wanted to go in early, knowing there were things that needed to be done. “He was dedicated. The man did whatever he could to help his job out,” said the family’s Pastor, Joe Gutierrez. But just hours into his shift, Steele’s family was contacted with the devastating news.
According to authorities, Steele had been helping a semi-truck driver back up near the garden center so that the trailer could be unloaded. Although investigators believe that Steele either fell or tripped as the semi was backing up, the family is blaming the truck driver for negligence in causing Steele’s death, as he was run over by the truck as it was backing up. Emergency crews were called to the store at around 8 a.m. and found the 79-year-old man on the ground in the parking lot between the semi and a forklift. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his death was ruled as blunt-force trauma.
On Wednesday, Steele's estate sued the truck driver, Charles Smith and the trucking company, World Way Inc. The lawsuit was filed in Fort Wayne’s federal court and accuses both the company and the driver of negligence causing death. First, the estate accuses Smith of negligently failing to keep an eye out for pedestrians in the area and failing to make sure the area was clear of pedestrians before backing up. The court documents also state that he failed to make any sound or signal to indicate he was backing up. Secondly, the estate accuses Smith’s employer of putting “unqualified and/or reckless drivers” on the road and is seeking damages for his injuries and wrongful death. The suit claims that Steele suffered severe personal injuries, pain and wrongful death at the scene and that his surviving wife, Karen Steele, has been deprived of his care and affection.
The attorneys for the trucking company have not yet made any public statements since the news of the suit broke Thursday.